Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Beware of Discount Airlines

 I should have known better.  I will admit that.  The warning signs were all there, but I forged ahead because the low price was so tempting.  I was planning a trip to see my daughter in Tennessee and my husband found the irresistible ‘low fares’ of Allegiant Airlines.   I mean sure it only flew to Memphis, three hours away from where we wanted to go, but hey – I have always wanted to check out Memphis.  I could just rent a car and make this a fun bonus to our vacation. 

And yes, the flights are ONLY on Fridays and Mondays – I mean that’s a little weird, but hey with such a low price we could work around that. 

Then the fees started to add up.  Extra fees for luggage – okay lots of airlines do that.  Extra fees for a carry-on bag?  Well the price is really low.  An extra fee to reserve a seat?  Well I can’t stand the whole flight.  An extra fee if I don’t print my boarding pass at home?  That could be a challenge when I am travelling – what if I don’t have a printer?  Charging for drinks and snacks on the plane – gosh these fees are really adding up, the price is still low, but not nearly as low as it seemed at first. 

I was happy once we got to Memphis, and we enjoyed our vacation, but as we got on the road to return to Memphis I got a text saying our flight was cancelled.  That’s it – no other info, just cancelled.  What do I do now – I have to turn in the rental car. I don’t live in Memphis.  I have to get home.  What am I supposed to do?  I tried calling the airlines.  I waited on hold for over 45 minutes and finally got through to an agent who simply said, the flight is cancelled. I asked how I am supposed to get home.  He replied, “We will have another flight tomorrow.”   Ummm – tomorrow?  How does that help me today?  He then says he can refund the return portion of my trip.  Sure but you guys are the lowest cost airline – how am I supposed to get home?  No response from the agent. 

Thank goodness for technology – my daughter got online and found a flight home, unfortunately the cost was $500 more than the Allegiant flight. 

I have tried to contact the airlines to get back the extra cost I had to pay to get home, but the only option to contact them is via e-mail and according to their website it can take up to 60 days for a response.  I’m not too optimistic but I will keep trying. 

Unfortunately it was a very expensive lesson for me – Beware of discount airlines.  You really do get what you pay for.  Next trip I will use Southwest, I may pay a bit more up front, but I am fairly sure I will have less frustration. 

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